Our Lives, Our Bodies: 1980s Women Filmmakers, in Hollywood and Beyond

Smooth Talk. Courtesy of Janus Films/PhotofestThe new retrospective at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (Bam), "Punks, Poets, and Valley Girls" offers such an abundance of stylistic and narrative through-lines that it’s hard to distill them. This is partly the point of the Bam programmer Jesse Trussell: that if you forego focusing on commonly consecrated auteurs, suddenly the 1980s yield not a dearth or a trickle but rather a flood of films by women. If there’s one thing to be said about these films it’s that their sexual and identity politics are as rich as you’d expect them to be—from L.A Rebellion films, by filmmakers such as Monona Wali, that address communal demands for justice, to the feminist films of Lizzie Borden and Donna Deitch, to the quieter, more ambiguous works, such as Joyce Chopra’s Smooth Talk (1985), an assured debut, and a lean,

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